The Area Development Framework (2005) for Dudley Town Centre presents a vision for the town focusing on serving the needs of the local community and ensuring the town remains a centre for civic life, for shopping and for education.
The Framework Plan illustrates just one of many possible scenarios for the future of the town centre. It is based on an essential set of design principles which will need to be embodied in all the development schemes which come forward.
The layout of streets and spaces in the north and west of the town centre must be maintained and a similar approach adopted to the provision of a new street network south of King Street
With a strong Medieval heritage Dudley already benefits from an exceptionally high quality environment that has developed through the years. Therefore the quality of design, finish and maintenance of the street and spaces within the centre is paramount. The first joy of being in Dudley should be the experience of strolling, driving and sitting within the public realm.
New areas of development must be connected into the existing fabric of the town centre and other attractions (including the castle, the Zoo, Priory Park and Castle Gate) which are on the periphery.
There is potential for significant new retail investment. It should be located and designed to reinforce the continuing role of the Market Place as a principal retail destination, and create a compact and vibrant retail core. Change of use of some peripheral and outdated retail accommodation will be inevitable.
Streets and spaces should be enclosed by the facades of buildings to create an intimate, active and attractive streetscape. Parking should be accommodated on-street or positioned in the centre of development blocks behind buildings.
Access to the centre by cars is welcomed but within the heart of the town centre speeds should be kept slow and the movement of people on foot should be given priority.
Surface car parking represents an inefficient use of valuable land within a town centre. Condensing surface parking into bright modern, multi-storey car parks, positioned behind other uses away from street frontages, will free land to make way for new development.
The infrastructure associated with access into the centre by bus, and in the future Midland Metro, should be designed as part of the street scene and focused on getting people to where they want to be.
The strategy is founded on reinforcing the main existing activities within the centre, particularly the shopping and civic functions, and introducing an equally strong component of urban living. These three principal land uses will support existing and bring potential for new secondary uses, particularly bars, restaurants, cafés, leisure and other small commercial enterprises. These should be mixed with other activities to enhance the vitality of the centre.